Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 09-10-2015

ERIO news and activities

* ERIO at the European Commission consultation meeting with civil society
On September 30  the European Commission DG Justice met with representatives of EU level networks. ERIO presented the effect of  the refugee crisis on the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies and the discrimination and hate speech against Roma. Other speakers talked about health care project supported by the European Commission and the Roma inclusion index published by the Roma Decade secretariat. The second session was dedicated to mainstreaming anti-Gypsyism in all EC policies. Presentation was delivered by EC representative from Europe for Citizens program who referred to ERIOs project on Remembering the Holocaust as successful model.

Read the report here
* ERIO at the 5th partners meeting in Barcelona (Spain)
On October 7th and 8th ERIO met with the partners for the Music4ROM project. Music4ROM is a project financed by the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme to build intercultural bridges and educate children in European citizenship through music This two-year project is a partnership of eight partners of which ERIO is part of, covering seven European countries: Belgium, Romania, Slovakia, UK, Italy, France and Spain.

Visit the Music4ROM website: www.erionet.eu/music4rom
Follow Music4ROM on facebook: www.facebook.com/Music-4-Rom-1536583583225358

OTHER news

* Hate and intolerance must be combated more strongly as social climate worsens
By Fundamental Rights Agency

Research by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows that racism and xenophobia are a widespread problem in Europe today. As support for xenophobic and anti-migrant agendas grows, FRA calls in a special contribution to the European Commission’s first annual colloquium on fundamental rights for targeted awareness-raising measures, better data collection, and more effective access to justice for victims. The persistent lack of data is central to the Agency’s annual overview of data on antisemitism in the EU, which is also published today.

“The attacks we have seen this year in France, Denmark and elsewhere in the EU are part of a climate of intolerance that we must fight with all the means at our disposal,” said FRA interim Director Constantinos Manolopoulos. “There are many positive initiatives around the EU, but in the current situ ation this is not enough. The EU and its Member States need to take immediate and decisive action to combat extremist, xenophobic and antisemitic discourse and crimes.”

Read more here
* We must not look at child poverty as simply someone else's problem
By Jana Žitňanská

Combating child poverty requires better access to pre-school education and more employment opportunities for parents, says Jana Žitňanská. The question of child poverty seldom takes prominence in political conversation. This is a shame, considering child poverty is often only just the start of difficulties that affect people throughout their lives.
Those who are directly affected by poverty are not the only ones who have to bear the consequences. Entire communities, cities and member states must also deal with them.

This is precisely why it is important not to look at poverty as someone else's problem, but rather as our own. Therefore, solutions are both in our common interest and a common necessity. I believe that the key to reducing child poverty lies within three areas – work, education and policies by member states that humanise contact between state institutions and children. The socio-economic environment in which children live is hugely influential. We have all, at least once in our lives, heard someone referring to another person as 'good' or 'bad' depending on which neighbourhood they lived in. Sadly, this is very often the case with clever children from excluded Roma communities.

Read more here
* Czech town segregating Roma in housing and at school - mayor says integration will only happen over his "dead body"
By bau, jal, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Milan Volf, Mayor of the Czech town of Kladno, says it is impossible to move those living in the town's excluded localities into regular apartment buildings and that he believes the per-child allowances offered by the state are like a business opportunity that is motivating families in ghettos to grow exponentially larger. He made those remarks in an interview on 23 September for news server E15.cz.

"Integrating these people into society is very difficult. If we allocate them a building we will be criticized for creating a ghetto. Integration among decent people? I'm sorry, but only over my dead body. This we cannot do..." says Volf, who established the "Vote for Kladno" party in 2010 and won the local elections there in 2014.

Volf was first elected mayor from 1998-2004 for the Civic Democratic Party (ODS). He also says in the interview that because the state senses there is a problem with residential hotels for socially vulnerable people it is shifting responsibility for them to the municipalities: "It seems ridiculous to me when the state claims it is the town halls creating the ghettos. Those people cannot be relocated into regular apartment buildings. I absolutely cannot imagine it, not if we have any regard for those tenants who are not on welfare and who do go to work and take care of their children."

Read more here
* Roma evictions triple in Italian capital for Pope's 'year of mercy'
By Agence France-Presse 

Forced evictions of ethnic Roma in the Italian capital have more than tripled since Pope Francis announced a special "year of mercy" which sent the city on a clean-up spree, campaigners said Monday.

After the pontiff declared the Jubilee Year of Mercy in March, Rome carried out 64 forced evictions which "violate international law and human rights", the pro-Roma group Associazione 21 Luglio said. News of the holy year, which begins in December and is expected to draw millions of pilgrims, threw graffiti-covered Rome -- struggling with traffic, transport and garbage problems -- into a clean-up frenzy. The effort also saw a crackdown on dozens of squalid and overcrowded camps around the capital which local authorities use to house a mix of Italian-born Roma, recent migrants from eastern Europe and Sinti, a traditionally itinerant ethnic group which has been present in Italy for centuries.

Read more here
* Hungary's minorities bear brunt of anti-migrant rhetoric
By Thomas Escritt

ACS, Hungary, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Hungary's government has launched an all-out campaign against migrants, but the people who feel like they are the real targets already live there: members of the country's Roma and Muslim minorities.
"I wish the government would think more carefully before starting campaigns like this," said Robert Sulek, president of Hungary's Islamic Community. "It's our wives who get spat on and have their veils ripped off in the street."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has divided opinion across Europe by shutting his country's borders to the throngs of weary refugees seeking to cross through on their way to Northern Europe. More than 240,000 migrants have passed through Hungary this year so far, nearly all seeking sanctuary in the rich countries of western Europe from war and poverty in the Middle East. Orban's government has built a fence along its border with Serbia and introduced fast-track asylum procedures to prevent migrants and refugees entering the country.
But the refugees mostly pass through without staying. Meanwhile, Hungary is home to around 30,000 Muslims, most of whom arrived after World War Two, and to 800,000 Roma, or gypsies, present in this part of Europe since the Middle Ages.

Read more here
* The case of connecting Roma people living in secluded communities to basic healthcare
The 2015 EPHA conference explored how the concept of ’Health in All Policies’ has evolved into a broader approach to better governance for health. Health in all Policies has a vital importance in the case of Roma Integration. Housing, Education, Access to Healthcare, Employment and Discrimination are core elements influencing overall Roma population health. The conference sought to draw lessons from previous health policy-making and identify challenges and opportunities for health in the coming decade. The event shed light on the issue of Roma integration, including past successes and obstacles, as well as future strategies.
 
* The end of a decade: what happened to Roma inclusion?
By Bernard Rörke

Ten years ago the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 was launched. Now that the Decade has been formally closed, it is time to reflect on the results.
Ten years ago at the launch of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, the heads of the World Bank and Open Society Foundations, James Wolfensohn and George Soros described the Decade as an opportunity “to turn the tide of history, signaling ‘a sea change’ ” in Roma policy. The launch of the Decade raised a lot of hope, promised much and, in time, disillusioned many. Recalling the sense of optimism at the time, one Roma activist I interviewed described his high hopes and ambitions for change: “We thought that we as Roma were beginning to matter to other people ... that we were part of something that would ensure our political participation...”.

Read more here
* Institute of Race Relations: New government measures on Gypsies and Travellers on a collision course with human rights
Chris Johnson and Andrew Ryder write about a new policy for Gypsies and Travellers which was quietly issued at the end of last month.

At the end of August the government issued a flurry of statements, such as the dissolution honours list, which included a number of controversial new additions to the House of Lords, and was issued on the same day that fresh immigration figures and data on deaths relating to benefit sanctions were released. Critics pointed out that the government was seeking to ‘bury bad news’. Amongst the ‘bad’ or contentious news at the end of August there was particularly bad news for Gypsies and Travellers.

On August Bank Holiday Monday 2015 the government issued a new policy on planning and Gypsy and Traveller sites, Planning policy for Traveller sites (PPTS). This PPTS replaces the previous version of the policy and came into force immediately. One of the most controversial new parts of this policy is that if a Gypsy or Traveller stops travelling permanently for health reasons or reasons of old age, they will no longer be within the planning definition of Gypsy and Traveller. It should be noted that the previous Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Eric Pickles, had sought to instigate such change during the Coalition government but was thwarted by the Liberal Democrats, then partners in the Coalition, who shared the anxieties of Gypsies and Travellers and their supporters, who felt the proposal was unfair and unsound.

Read more here

ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

* ERIO’s 4th Workshop “Fighting hate speech against Roma: the Role of Equality Bodies” - CONFERENCE INVITATION

Brussels, 16 October 2015

The European Roma Information Office (ERIO), in close cooperation with the European Network of Equality Bodies (EQUINET) invites you to attend a workshop with Equality Bodies and Roma representatives which will take place on 16 October 2015 at the Rue de Ligne 37, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.

Within the framework of the Race Equality Directive 2000/43 (RED) and national equality laws (legal provisions regulating media), the workshop will focus on how Equality Bodies can fight hate speech against Roma. By organising this workshop, we aim to:
- Foster discussion between different Equality Bodies, civil society and experts on effective practices and challenges to tackle hate speech against Roma
- Provide a platform for Equality Bodies to exchange good practices on hate speech (e.g. prevention, public awareness, litigation)
- Promote cooperation between Equality Bodies and civil society to jointly address hate speech against Roma

The workshop will be in English.

Registration
Places are limited. Please confirm participation as soon as possible, latest by 25 September 2015.
Register by email/phone by sending your name, surname and the organisation you represent to:
office@erionet.eu
Tel: +32 (2) 733 3462
Join the The European Roma Media Network

The European Roma Media Network was an outcome of ERIO’s conference “Media: a key tool to fight hate speech and anti-Gypsyism” organised on 23 June 2015 in Brussels. The ultimate goal of this informal Network is to join efforts to invert the role of the media as a tool to fight anti-Roma sentiments and anti-Gypsyism. The media has a crucial role in combating racism and stereotypes about the Roma. This can be achieved with an ethical and critical journalism which aims to raise awareness and provide a greater understanding regarding Roma issues.
 
The role of the Network is to provide an online platform for different stakeholders to exchange information and ideas about good practices and to discuss possible challenges and opportunities in tackling negative stereotypes and hate speech in the media. A parallel objective of the Network is to monitor and react to hate speech and negative portrayal of Roma in the media and address the responsible authorities.Who can join?Members of the Network should be journalists (Roma and non-Roma), media experts or NGOs working on media.

Want to apply for membership?To apply for membership please fill in this registration form and send it to office@erionet.eu
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